Monday, May 18, 2009

My Morning Racket

Confession: I am a morning person. I don’t know why I feel the urge to apologize, but there you have it. It’s what I am; and if I am to have another few decades alive on Planet Earth I had better start accepting my lot in life.

First, there aren’t two halves of society; the night people and the morning people. (I avoid the term ‘night owl’ because it’s redundant) As far as I can tell, most people are night people or at least wish to be. The trait is more like handedness. Most people are righties and there are some that are lefties. Just like lefties, the world is not designed for morning people. It is a place that objects and sometimes derides us for what we are.

We did not choose to wake up when the sun is low or the sky is still pink with dawn colors. It just happens. I wake up and within a few minutes I want to get shit done. I know, it’s unusual. I’ve heard it all before. I want to sniff the thin, crisp air outside and I want to pour a cup of hot coffee when the house is welcoming, but still quiet. At least on the weekends.

On workdays I’m just as miserable as anyone else.

If I had a long lost Uncle Filbert that willed me 256 million dollars, I would still get up early every day. I want to make that clear. I know you would sleep until noon everyday. This is not a choice for me. I just Get Up Early. It is no admonition against the night people. I just don’t need a ton of sleep, and it feels nice on a subconscious level to be up when the day begins.

I think I’ve gone back to bed four or five times in thirty-six years.

There are few practical uses for being a morning person in my life. Were I a dairy farmer or a pastry chef or a drive-time DJ I would feel wonderful. For me, I get a little time to reflect. Granted I do this most of the day been when I am busy, the morning is my special time. I arrange my brain. I don’t loathe having to get out of bed like I’m being torn from the womb. I guess there is one advantage.

When I was little, I would always beat everyone in the house to the kitchen or to the TV first. I needed the quiet then. I used to think I was afraid to miss out on something. Maybe there was something interesting or fun happening and I didn’t want to be the schmuck who slept through it all. Later, I shrugged that off. Nothing is ever going on. If anything, I preferred the solitude and getting it in the morning was more sure fire than staying up until 4 a.m. Plus, I got more sleep.

Some people make gagging noises when I admit this. I’m just saying, there are a few of us out there. I could never life a thrilling Metropolitan nightlife. Me get so sleepy. I can roll out of bed, maybe a little groggy, but get things moving when I have to. Count on me when its time to get to the airport or get a road trip together. You’ll be the one cursing the clock, hair frazzled, incoherent, leaning against the front doorway to catch just ten seconds more of precious, precious sleep.

I’ll be the guy with the fresh doughnuts. Sorry.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ubetta Gitchyo Accolades

How about I refrain from pointing out absurdities and foibles for a minute and write about three of the many things that did not disappoint me. So many times we get let down by experiences because of expectations or hype or someone’s opinion. But every once in awhile, they are damn right.

The Grand Canyon – We stopped for a few hours when we moved cross country. It was clear day, not too hot but completely clear. This unbelievable drop appeared out of nowhere after we entered the park. I guess that is the first impression. There was no buildup. It’s not like mountains before a mountain range. You are teased with foothills and tastes of what’s to come. The Grand Canyon was a shock. Pull up, park and walk ten feet to a 6,000 foot drop.

Birds flew a thousand feet below us. We could see Utah from our perch on the south ridge. It was tough to decipher tree from shrub and path from the Colorado River. Everything you have ever heard about how striking the experience is rings true. Even for someone raised at sea level with an unfriendly relationship with heights, I could not stop breathing it in. Within about twelve hours from that moment, most of my family would be stricken with a crippling stomach flu that would ruin our entire stay in Las Vegas, but for that morning in Arizona, it was worth it. Nearly.

Beck – Odelay – This year was 1996. Music was officially in the toilet and I was stuck at a thankless boring job. (Whoa! Déjà vu!) I read in both Spin and Rolling Stone that that dude who put out “Loser” in 1994 released an album that was actually good, top to bottom. Not just good, but 10/10 and five stars –type good. I could not believe it. I had to buy the thing and hear it for myself. (This is back before everyone downloaded or stole their music.) I popped it into my stereo at home and was instantly floored. It was a Beck version of Paul’s Boutique; not just because of the same production team, but for the boldness and textured sound. And, for me, it came out of nowhere. I like that. Surprise goes a long way with me.

I listened to it three times in a row the next day at work (on my Discman!). I never do that. It is still one of my top ten favorites, probably in part because I never saw it coming.

Being a father – Okay, a little corny. I could do a few essays on this, to be sure. There are a bunch of unexpected perks to being a dad. I’ll discuss one.

When you are a nerd like me, you love to know things. Its what we do. We collect and interpret data. Most of us like to share, and few of us are any good at it. Once your child becomes accustomed to you knowing some answers, they ask questions. I love to be asked shit. I love it. I know the answers a lot of times, too. When I don’t, my kids run to the computer to fill me in. Sure , it can get burdensome at times. I know I’ll miss that when they have the audacity to grow up and move out.

Like today. I’m taking the boys to see Star Trek for an outing this weekend. They have no idea what those shows or movies are about other than “that dude with the pointy ears has green blood.” Now I’m not a huge Trek fan, but they ran the movies on cable in the 80’s enough for me to learn quite a bit. So I was able to fill them in to a major American cultural bookmark. It’s like showing them their first sunset or dolphin or helicopter, but with more Klingons.